Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Ban on PVC in food packaging
Overview: Starting in July 2023, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will be banned from food packaging in Taiwan.
Population: 23.9 million
Food policy category: Food supply and distribution, preventive health
Program goals: To prevent harmful chemicals from leaching into food and the environment.
How it works: Beginning in July 2023, PVC cannot be used in the manufacturing, importation, or sale of food-packaging materials. Anyone who is caught selling food packaging containing PVC will be fined between NT$1,200 (US$40.74) and NT$6,000 (US$201.91), and those caught manufacturing or importing these items will be fined between NT$60,000 (US$2,019.08) and NT$300,000 (US$10,095.40).
Progress to date: The ban was announced on April 29, 2022.
Why it is important: PVC is made of an industrially-produced chemical called vinyl chloride, which is a known carcinogen, linked to an increased risk of liver, brain, and lung cancers as well as lymphoma and leukemia. Vinyl chloride can be released into the atmosphere from facilities where it is used to produce PVC materials, as well as from landfills and hazardous waste facilities where the PVC is broken down. It can also leach into foods, especially fatty foods such as meats and cheeses.
Individuals who have been exposed to vinyl chloride for many years, including those who live near production or waste facilities, may develop nerve damage.
Taiwan’s ban is expected to reduce PVC packaging by 79 metric tons (approximately 87 US tons) per year.
Program/Policy initiated: The ban will go into effect in July 2023.
Point of contact: N/A
Similar practices: New Zealand has banned the use of most single-use plastics, including PVC packaging, by 2025. South Korea has banned the use of PVC products since the end of 2019.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted.
- The Dangers of Plastics to Public Health: A Review (Journal of Science and Technology Research)
- Plastic in Food Packaging: Safety Concerns for Our Health and Environment (Journal of Nutritional Science and Healthy Diet)
- Public and Environmental Health Effects of Plastic Wastes Disposal: A Review (Journal of Toxicology and Risk Assessment)
- Ban on PVC Packaging to Take Effect July Next Year (Taipei Times)
- Korea Cosmetics Packaging Recycling (International Trade Administration)
- New Zealand to Ban Most Single-Use Plastics by 2025 (EcoWatch)
- No More PVC: Taiwan Latest Market to Eliminate PVC as Food Packaging Material (Food Navigator-Asia)
- Taiwan Bans PVC in Food Packaging (Food Packaging Forum)
- Taiwan to Ban PVC in Food Packaging Starting July 2023: EPA (Focus Taiwan)
- ToxFAQs™ for Vinyl Chloride (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)
- Toxic Chemicals Leach their Way into our Food: Report Finds Hidden Harm (Earth Justice)
- Vinyl Chloride (National Cancer Institute)